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Old 03-02-2015   #21
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
It seems that all Sotars leak a little at one spot or another. I keep mine aired up in my garage, and I routinely go out and top it off while it sits on a little cart on castered wheels I made for it. Sometimes it goes soft in a week, sometimes a month. Large diurnal changes in temperature will accelerate the loss. We had a Sotar IK and it seemed to hold air very well.
The tradeoff is that I can pick up and move around my stripped 14 ft raft by myself when it is fully inflated. I can load it myself, and it drafts little water. I like Hypalon for a lot of reasons, but I like how the Sotar paddles. I like the weight, and I like how stiff PVC can get.
I've also heard that Sotar has an allowable amount of leakdown from the factory, but I have not clue what should be allowable.

Wishing I was on the river instead of surfing the web...
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Old 03-03-2015   #22
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
I've had two sets of Sotar cat tubes- no leaks. One issue that you have to keep an eye on with them though- the tube within a tube means that you can't have somebody else top off your tubes while you run shuttle.....not without some instruction on which valves to use and which ones to leave alone. Blow up the inside set and you could have a blow out on your hands before you know it. I raced back to the put in one time saying "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit" while I wondered if my brother had already gone too far. Lesson learned- nobody puts air in my tubes without strict instructions.

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Old 03-03-2015   #23
NIMBY, Oregon
Paddling Since: Womb
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 97
10 years old is right around the time when the operation was changing hands. Spray the entire boat down with soapy water. You might have gotten one of those boats that had a problem with the fabric. The entire boat will foam up if so and is run at your own risk. Sotars look pretty, and drive great, but their quality has gone to shit since the mid 2000s. Only things I have from that I can't complain about are two sleeping pads. They are still choice...
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Old 03-03-2015   #24
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
Liquid lex is a great repair product. Check with sotar their other product may be better suited.

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I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 03-03-2015   #25
Redmond, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,031
Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
Liquid lex is a great repair product. Check with sotar their other product may be better suited.
Here is a pdf one page handout:

Instructions for applying Liquid Lexatron

It is provided by SOTAR:

{NOTE: THF is only used on the first coat. The lex will not stick to the urethane fabric if it is not wet with THF when the fist coat is applied.}
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Old 03-04-2015   #26
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 494
Our 11 year old Sotar cat tubes seem pretty bomber. The only repairs I've had to make is where the top coat of the fabric was gouged when I tried to it take off the trailer by myself to clean it. There was some edge on the trailer that removed a 1/4'' x 1'' section of the top layer of vinyl coating. I noticed it was leaking a little air when I washed it. I called Sotar and they suggested half a dozen coats of the Liquid Lex. I cleaned it with THF and apllied 6 coats and it's been fine ever since. I know you can buy liquid Lex pre-tinted from them, but they can't guarantee an exact color match. This was a real easy repair. I taped off the area to be coated to make it as neat a repair as possible. As others have noted, the clear Liquid Lex does discolor a little with age.

Definitely do this repair outside. The THF and the Liquid Lex have some heavy duty solvents in them. They make the lacquer I have sprayed on cabinets and furniture in the past seem like a breath of fresh air.
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Old 03-04-2015   #27
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
great advice everyone, thanks.

I'm going to start with liquid lex on the drings. I gave the boat a quick wash but I don't think I've found everything yet. losing air faster than the dring leaks can account for.

good news is so far I have seen no bubbling or delam anywhere in the open runs of fabric. Hopefully just a question of finding 'em all.
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Old 03-04-2015   #28
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
So...these problems are on the older PVC sotars...or PVC and urethane?

I have been sold on urethane boats ever since I bought my revolution and rowed a few fact I have figured if/when I get a new (as-in first owner) boat it was gonna be a Sotar.

...But the idea , if true, that Sotar would have "an allowable amount of leakdown from the factory" is inexcuseable to me. Only one of my 5 boats has a slow leak and it is a cheap chinese pvc (intex). Even my 1981 Hyside and 2001 Star holds air for as long as long as I let them sit (which longest I've tested is weeks).
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Old 03-04-2015   #29
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
Originally Posted by slickhorn View Post

losing air faster than the dring leaks can account for.
I would think pinhole leaks around 24 D-rings, a couple footcups and and a bad factory seam could soften a boat pretty fast in a controlled environment.
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Old 03-04-2015   #30
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
I recommend long pants, long sleeves, rubber gloves, eye protection, an organic vapor cartridge solvent/chemical respirator(I use a 3m from home cheapo) and proper ventilation. I run three box fans drawing air out of the garage and also use heaters depending on how fast I want it to cure. Beforehand I scuff with sandpaper and then wash with mek. I never use soap and water as it's sometimes hard to remove. If it's a 2 part mixture make sure both part measurements are identical to each other.

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